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to helmet or not to helmet

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to helmet or not to helmet

Old 10-22-02, 09:01 AM
  #76  
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"The aim is to convince people of the need to change habits. "

resistance ist futile, comerade. you vill vear your helmet. und you vill vear it NOW!
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Old 10-22-02, 09:17 AM
  #77  
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Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
To those who continue to harp (carp??) about us for saying it is smart to wear one, go ahead an not wear one.
Speaking for myself here, I don't 'harp' on people who say wearing one is smart, since this would be difficult to disprove, but I do take exception to those who state absolutely that those who choose not to are 'idiots', 'organ donors',...ect and that insist that I should wear one, who of course are assuming that they have put more thought into my decision than I.

These invectives usually turn out to be offered by people who have a limited knowledge on the efficacy of helmets.

It is your choice.
Currently, where I live it is a choice for adults, though this was nearly not the case 7 years ago. This does not mean that it will stay this way and helmet laws are quite easy to sell to the general public, especially as they are sold on mainly false premises to a public who sees bicycling as a children's activity and who just love to be spoon fed a quick fix.

However, that MHLs were implemented and studied in Australia and NZ will prove to be benefical for other jurisdictions considering these same laws. It was a key factor in the British Medical Association's decision to not endorse a law there.

However, this is a forum, where opinions are aired, comments made and ideas discussed. The aim is to convince people of the need to change habits.
Well, I guess this is where the fundamental disagreement is and helmets (bicycle only) just happens to be the battlefield as it were. I take 'change habits' to mean 'wear helmets' or '<insert single issue here>'.

I don't feel the need to save people from themselves. If I did, I would probably concern myself with issues such as smoking, overeating and driving where the resulting amount of illness and death is staggering. That those who behave as safety zealots choose not to do so makes me seriously question their motives and the logic of their approach.

If we were the ones who wanted to force everyone to wear helmets, not choose to do so, then we would not waste our time here. We'd be out circulating petitions to get laws on the books.
I'm not sure who 'we' is here. These laws are pushed by a helmet lobby who has managed to brainwash a majority of the population that helmets save lives without actually going so far as to say so.

There is money to be made here.

There is no money to be made by pointing out the drawbacks of helmets, except by the cycling cap industry (if it's still around).

So, if you insist on not wearing a helmet, that's your choice. You can also ride the opposite way of traffic, or do any number of what safety professionals sometimes call "unsafe behaviors."
Well thanks for a backhanded pat on the back.

Perhaps it is just cynicism but to me, in practice it seems that the term 'Safety Professional' in the context of bicycles simply means helmet promoter. I see a fair number of 'tipped back' helmets being worn by safety concious families who are deathly afraid of riding on the road. That a far, far greater number of injuries and deaths would be prevented by addressing where people (especially children) ride, how they ride and specifically having them use lights at night seems to be lost on those who have an insatiable need to lecture others on safety, but then I have come to realize that it is not a logical compulsion but an emotional one, hence the endlessness of these debates.

From what I have seen both on and off the internet, the current strategy by a majority of cyclists and non-cyclists alike is to project bicycling as a dangerous activity and to treat a helmet as a cure-all and the usage/nonusage of one as a judgement of intelligence or character.

I want no part of that, sorry.

Last edited by bikerider; 10-22-02 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 10-22-02, 08:57 PM
  #78  
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Bikerider says:

Perhaps it is just cynicism but to me, in practice it seems that the term 'Safety Professional' in the context of bicycles simply means helmet promoter.
I can see where you may have this opinion, but it is not the case. I am a Board Certified Safety Professional (CSP), certified in Comprehensive Practices. When I spoke of some safety professionals speaking of "unsafe behaviors," I was referring to one of the first safety theories from Dr. Henry Heinrick called the "Domino Theory" of accident causation. It basically said that an accident was like a set of dominos, which began hitting each other, one after the other. Dr. Heinrick basically divided the causes of accidents into two groups, "unsafe conditions" and "unsafe acts," or now "unsafe behaviors." His study found that about 80% of the accidents he investigated could be attributed to "unsafe acts." Recent behavioral theories state the figure is closer to 100%.

Other theories exist, and to some extent discredit the Domino Theory. These include Dan Peterson's Theory of Multiple Causation, and Dr. David DeJoy's Human Factors Theory of Accident Causation.

How do these tie into the present discussion? Well, bicycling without a helmet is the same as a logger in the woods without a hard hat, or a timber faller without ballistic chaps to protect against chain saw cuts, or someone grinding a metal tool without safety glasses. In each case, personal protective equipment is protecting a part of the body from a known hazard. The safety glasses protect the person's eyes. The chaps protect the timber faller's legs from being cut (cut off?) by a chain saw. The hard hat protects from overhead hazards (limbs falling from trees, flying debries, etc.).

So when I discussed bicycling helmets, I was talking about a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) meant to protect the head, the person's brain, from massive injury potentials that always exist when falling from height. Face it, when riding a bicycle (except recumbants), if you fall you are falling from height. The surface you are falling upon is not soft (usually either pavement or concrete).

The head is suddenly stopped by a hit on a hard surface, but the brain doesn't stop. It abides by Newton, and continues forward motion until it hits the skull in a hard hit. This can lead to the brain, which is the consistency of well-set Jell-O, to be injured. The injury can be very minor, in which case the person "sees stars" or may be simply knocked out. Or it can be much more devastating. There are several types of brain injuries, which include terms like concussion, contusion, brain laceration, and subdural hemorrhage. The latter three can be life-threatening.

I have investigated many fatal industrial accidents, including falls. One was a fall from three feet of height onto a concrete floor. The worker had a hard hat on, but it did not fit well (your comments on fit are well founded) and came off in the air. This was a fatal accident with no forward momentum except the falling motion.

Think of the momentum onto a solid surface, or worse a curb, at twenty mph. The forces can, and probably have, been calculated. That little form-fitted piece of styrofoam we call a helmet is designed to take that impact, and reduce the momentum of the brain inside the skull so that the impact is within the tolerance of the tissues.

Helmets can, and do, save lives. Mine is one of them.

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 10-22-02 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 10-22-02, 09:14 PM
  #79  
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somehow this thread has wandered off point.

i don't think anyone is disputing the fact that helmets will help protect your head in a fall. they will reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of serious injury. to me, this point is not in dispute.

what IS in dispute is the notion the people who choose to ride without a helmet are somehow stupid or ill informed. that their habits need to be modified. i take exception to this, and only this.
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Old 10-23-02, 12:31 AM
  #80  
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I have heard this from other than bicyclists.

So what do we say to those employees who insist on not wearing their eye protection when working with Class 4 lasers? "Don't look into the beam with your one good eye!"

What should we say to someone who insists on not wearing respiratory protection in an environment with fine particals (asbestos, silica, etc.) and vapors that are hazardous to the lungs (NYC Fireman)? I don't have a good answer here, because I don't want to tell these national heros that they were jeopardizing their future; however many are finding this a reality.

What do I tell a timber faller's wife when her husband has nearly cut off his leg for want of chaps and bled to death for want of a radio, or another two wives whose husbands were lost while staying uphill of a wildfire trying to move expensive logging equipment? We don't use words like stupid here, as they only hurt. But the people are still dead, and all we have to show was two melted aluminum hard hats.

What do we say to bicyclists who refuse to wear a helmet? If we say it is stupidly, we loose them. If we say they are uninformed, then we get similar resistance. Should we simply let them learn their own lessons; this would be okay, as long as there were no other people involved. But others are always involved. They include family (wives, husbands, children), friends and family, coworkers and society itself. Have you thought of what the EMT/Paramedics would say when they go to pick you up?

And what do you suggest we say at a funeral? Do we eulogize the individual's spirit of adventure, courage, guts, etc.? This is what happened during the funeral for a scout who died in a skiing accident. The troop continued skiing very difficult conditions, conditions I didn't even think they would travel under, much less ski under (we stayed home; I was assistant scoutmaster and thought the event was canceled, as even driving to the site (some 200 miles over a mountain range) was itself hazardous). The scout was skiing alone, did a face plant in deep snow where he could not move, and suffocated. He was found dead over an hour after he was missed by his fellow scouts. I attended the funeral, and the way it was handled made me sick, as the scouts should not have been there in the first place.

I am on record elsewhere on this forum that helmets are not the end-all; they are the last line of defense, as is all personal protective equipment. But, without them, a nasty accident can become a tragedy. A safety professional, member of the American Society of Safety Engineers in Eugene, Oregon, died while bicycling this summer without a helmet when he hit a fence going down a hill.

I have my life experiences to share, and choose to do so in this forum. Perhaps I have lived longer, and seen more, than some of you. Please take heed.

John
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Old 10-23-02, 07:11 AM
  #81  
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what do we say? "adios."

is it possible to die on a public freeway inside a car, wearing a seatbelt? happens all the time. "adios."

is it possible to be killed sitting on a park bench in the Washington D.C. area? tragically, yes. "adios."

is it possible for YOU to die on a bicycle despite wearing a helmet and riding safely? of course it is. "adios."

and what will people say at your funeral, should that happen? will they say you were an idiot in tights who insisted on taking chances by riding a bicycle instead of driving a car "like the rest of us?" or will they say "his was a life well lived, he took some risks, and it bit him in the end."

it's not up to you, me, or the guv'ment to decide how much risk is too much. it's up to the individual. no amount of handwringing will change that simple, basic fact.
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Old 10-23-02, 07:14 AM
  #82  
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I feel naked without a helmet.

I had a motorcycle wreck about 5 years ago when I wasn't wearing a helmet. on dirt... on a little bike. I was going ~20mph at the FASTEST. Considering I easily hit 45mph on pavement while cycling this is nothing. I lost a weeks worth of memory, ended up in ICU in serious condition, 3 days in the hospital. $14000 worth of medical bills.

How small of an investment is a helmet compaired to $14k or more?

How much is your life worth?

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Old 10-23-02, 09:04 AM
  #83  
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Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
I have heard this from other than bicyclists.

What should we say to someone who insists on not wearing respiratory protection in an environment with fine particals (asbestos, silica, etc.) and vapors that are hazardous to the lungs (NYC Fireman)? I don't have a good answer here, because I don't want to tell these national heros that they were jeopardizing their future; however many are finding this a reality.

What do I tell a timber faller's wife when her husband has nearly cut off his leg for want of chaps and bled to death for want of a radio, or another two wives whose husbands were lost while staying uphill of a wildfire trying to move expensive logging equipment? We don't use words like stupid here, as they only hurt. But the people are still dead, and all we have to show was two melted aluminum hard hats.

What do we say to bicyclists who refuse to wear a helmet? If we say it is stupidly, we loose them. If we say they are uninformed, then we get similar resistance. Should we simply let them learn their own lessons; this would be okay, as long as there were no other people involved. But others are always involved. They include family (wives, husbands, children), friends and family, coworkers and society itself. Have you thought of what the EMT/Paramedics would say when they go to pick you up?

John
I notice that, despite your mention of them, Heinrick's "theory of accidents" and your safety certification don't play any important role in your remarks. The substantive claim you make is that cycling without a helmet is comparable to chain sawing without chaps, breathing asbestos without a mask, or skiing in remote areas alone. In other words, it's taking an excessive risk.

Well, that's exactly what is at issue, isn't it? And what have you said to convince us that cycling helmetless really is as dangerous as you suggest? Loggers' funerals and workers compensation reports aren't any help, unless you're already assuming what it is you're trying to show.

One might as well write a post in which cycling without a helmet is compared not to being trapped in a forest fire(!), but to walking on a sidewalk without a helmet. Is that an excessive risk? Should one consider what one's eulogy will be like if one walks near traffic bare-headed? Should we post to the jogging forums, wondering how we can get runners to don helmets without calling them stupid?

What about riding in cars without helmets? Is that cause for reflecting on one's life, one's loved ones who will be left behind?

Well-meaning reflections on dangerous occupations aren't to the point when we're considering the very small risk of serious head injury or death while cycling. What evidence there is doesn't show anything like the important benefits of cycling helmets that would justify their comparison to radios in forest fires.

Again, this disdain for helmetless riders, and the feeling of pride that comes from lecturing about cycling helmets, is just weird. Why does it happen? It happens in no other gear discussions, even the lighting discussions. But in terms of expected benefits, we ought to be nagging everyone on the forum instead about wearing a reflective vest in addition to their rear reflector and blinky. We ought to talk about the funerals we can expect if they don't heed our advice. But no one adopts such a heavy handed tone on these other topics. Why here?
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Old 10-23-02, 09:49 AM
  #84  
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I feel that I can weigh in on this with a recent (one hour ago) personal experience of mine. I was riding through a parking lot on campus, hit a patch of gravel, and went down hard. What I remember most was the force of the side of my head hitting pavement. The helmet is probably toast, the side is scraped very badly, but at least it wasnt my head. No one should be forced to wear a helmet, but lets not deny the fact that helmets do save lives, or at least that they save the wearer from getting more serious injuries.
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Old 10-23-02, 10:21 AM
  #85  
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If you are dumb enough not to wear a helmet, be my guest. I'm glad the gene pool will be cleared up. This doesn't apply to no-helmet wearing parents. You will burn in hell for not being a good parent.
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Old 10-23-02, 10:51 AM
  #86  
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bumba, bumba, bumba ....
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Old 10-23-02, 12:59 PM
  #87  
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Originally posted by Ritalin
I feel naked without a helmet.
Not to pick on you, but this is a very common sentiment. It would be difficult to prove in a given individual but it seems that cyclists are more wiling to be aggressive if they have a helmet on (a known effect elsewhere) and if they were to be caught without it for some reason they would ride overcautiously until they were safely off the bike.

It is one possible explanation for a statistical trend reported here:

http://www.topica.com/lists/massbike...t=d&start=4140

From what I have read, they have not had the overwhelming positive effects that were projected in NZ or Australia either.

I submit that putting helmets on inexperienced riders heads by telling them 'a helmet saved my life' (or 'my friend's life', etc) encourages them to take more risks while cycling. Yesterday while at a bike shop I noticed that Bell bicycle helmets still come in a box with the slogan 'Courage for your head'.

That this projection might actually contribute to more injuries or deaths seems to escape the grasp of many (bicycle only) helmet zealots, but given their general ignorance on the subject, this is hardly surprising.

To quote from the article above, "You would be well advised to wear a helmet provided you could persuade yourself it is of little use". Or, to go from the specific to the general, know the limits of your safety equipment; start by understanding how they work.

It's not my desire to preach it, but I do believe it.

Last edited by bikerider; 10-23-02 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 10-23-02, 01:01 PM
  #88  
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Originally posted by Bumbaclat
If you are dumb enough not to wear a helmet, be my guest. I'm glad the gene pool will be cleared up. This doesn't apply to no-helmet wearing parents. You will burn in hell for not being a good parent.
How telling.
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Old 10-23-02, 04:22 PM
  #89  
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Originally posted by JDP
Anybody else out there like to live dangerously?
Not me, that's for sure. Like several others who responded, I always wear my helmet every time I'm out on my bike. Even if I'm just going a few yards down the street to check that an adjustment I've made on the bike is working correctly. Since they are MY kids I make my kids wear their helmets as well. However, if I see someone riding without a helmet I don't say anything to them. I may think they are foolish and taking unneccsary risks, but --- hey --- that's their business, not mine.

You haven't hit your head, so maybe you've just been lucky. This year alone I know of two instances where, IMO, wearing a helmet saved the individuals involved from serious head injury. In one case, the helmet was merely dented. In the other, the helmet shattered during impact. That's just not a risk I'm willing to take for myself and people who are dear to me.

Just my $.02
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Old 10-23-02, 06:59 PM
  #90  
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Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
Think of the momentum onto a solid surface, or worse a curb, at twenty mph. The forces can, and probably have, been calculated. That little form-fitted piece of styrofoam we call a helmet is designed to take that impact, and reduce the momentum of the brain inside the skull so that the impact is within the tolerance of the tissues.
Snell, who has the highest standard, shows their drop test with a 5 kg headform against a flat anvil to be from a height of 2.2 metres, with the stipulation that 'the peak acceleration of the headform shall not exceed 300 G's for any valid test impact'. Doing some calculations, a drop from this height would work out to be a final velocity of 14.7 MPH. I usually see the number 14 MPH used in the countless helmet wars (where the numbers get brought out) so I am fairly confident in that figure.

More to the point, Snell also does a similar test with what they call a kerbstone anvil with a drop from 1.3 metres. I work this out to be a Vf of 11.3 MPH.

The standard can be found here: http://www.smf.org/standards/b95std.html
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Old 10-23-02, 09:40 PM
  #91  
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i'm sure there are moments of inertia and coefficients of friction that need to be considered. but there is a much better way to determine if helmets work.

first, put your helmet on and grab a good length of 2 x 4 firmly in your hands. now swing the board as hard as you can and strike yourself on the crown of the helmet.

then remove the helmet and repeat the experiment.

when you regain consciousness, perform an analysis of variance on the results.

it makes no sense to me to argue whether a helmet is effective in reducing the risk of injury in a fall. but maybe i'm the only one who feels that way.
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Old 10-23-02, 11:04 PM
  #92  
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Originally posted by bikerider


To quote from the article above, "You would be well advised to wear a helmet provided you could persuade yourself it is of little use". Or, to go from the specific to the general, know the limits of your safety equipment; start by understanding how they work.

Very well said. The only problem is that the only entities in existance with the power to both test and redesign helmets are the helmet companies themselves. Thus there is a lack of good data about when a helmet is helpful and when it is not. Bell can hardly put a statement that may be construed to say that their helmet will not help in all accidents.

Some questions for the helmet industry.

1) How many impacts can a helmet safely stand in a single accident? My father's helmet would not have done any good in a second impact because it was shattered. Some would do better because the shell and inner structure keeps the helmet together.

2) Is the helmet capable of staying in place on the head during an accident? Strapping systems on all modern bike helmets are notoriously hard to adjust so the helmet will not slip on the head.

3) Is there a possibility of neck torsion when wearing a helmet? How much?

4) What parts of the head is the helmet capable of protecting? i.e. road helmets require more protection on the side of the head than mountain bike helmets.

On most safety equipment, these types of questions are answered during a training session. Bike stores typically do not provide this training when they sell helmets, nor do the instructions that come with a helmet suggest much beyond "make sure the helmet does not slide back or forward." Which by the way; ever try to adjust the straps on a helmet so it does not slip forward or backward?

In short, all this fire during the "helmet wars" makes it impossible to discuss how well helmets work, and in what situations they fail. The "pro helmet" cannot bring it up because it will be seen as a weakness in argument. The "pro choice" do not bring it up because they get flamed. All we get instead is:

WEAR IT!
I DON'T WANNA!
WEAR IT YOU IDIOT!
YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!
IF YOU DON'T YOU WILL GET KILLED!
IT'S MY LIFE!
LISTEN, I WILL COUNT TO THREE... ONE...TWO....

and so on.

Anybody here ever take a hammer and destroyed a helmet before? I did one time. It was quite enlightening. I found that the high end helmets will hold together for more then one hit. Low end helmets with unbonded shells, they will literally only work once.
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Old 10-24-02, 12:01 AM
  #93  
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The second hit mentioned by Brian above (after my helmet had shattered) left me with a cut that had to be closed by three staples. It's the first time I've ever had staples put into my head. It's apparently the newest method for trauma units to close stitches. The funny thing is that when I pressed the center staple, I would get very dizzy, almost like vertigo. When I mentioned this to the doctor three day later, he immediately removed the staples.

Bikerider and Bandit above had good points about helmets leading to a false sense of security. I've never maintained that helmets were the only safety measure to use. But they are a very important one.

Concerning me not using any of the accident theories in my comments, that's because this is about helmets, not accident prevention. Helmets are personal protection, like other pieces of equipment. 'Sorry if you couldn't follow the analogies from other situations, but I was not the first to bring up other situations (walking, being in a shower, etc.). I will use accident theory to analyze my own accident in the future (when I have figured out a few more technical details, like placing my photos into this forum). I think then you will get a better idea of what can be done.

But to summarize many of the above posts, the "to helmet or not to helmet" question is mostly answered--if you value your head, put on a helmet. If you value your personal freedom from "regulation" more, then take your risks. By the way, these risks are not of the stupidity levels shown in the Darwin Awards (go to the web, and read them--they are unbelievable). We have an engineer who never wears a helmet, but commutes daily to my worksite by bicycle. Some people have mentioned to me that someone should talk to him about his habit of not wearing a helmet. I told them that he had never been to the Emergency Room, and I had twice in four years, and that maybe I could learn something from him. In short, I'm not an evangelist for helmets, but I am an advocate of them; mine did save my life!

There are studies available on many web sites which point to the value of helmets, and a few which contend that helmets are not what they are cracked up to be. Each side can point to their own stats. But the real story is that almost no one now says helmets won't help in an accident scenerio.

To those who say that bicycling is not dangerous, and helmets therefore are not necessary, I would say the following. The bulk of the information, and my own personal experience confirms, that bicycling is one of the more hazardous activities you can you can participate in. Cars (drivers, cars don't steer into bicyclists, drivers do) are the main source of the hazards, but there are others. These hazards can be minimized by training, use of protective equipment, selection of routes, riding techniques, etc.

I continue to ride, and I get flak from my wife for doing so. "I don't want another call from the Emergency Room," she tells me at every opportunity. She was very much effected by my accident in May, and all the measures I have taken to change (to be detailed later) have not reassured her.

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 10-24-02 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 10-24-02, 07:54 AM
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Freedom, studies, co-efficients of friction, BULLEXCREMENT!!!!

Wear your helmet you stupid people who find your mothers attractive and thusly want to procreate with her!!!!

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Old 10-24-02, 08:07 AM
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Pot, meet kettle.
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Old 10-24-02, 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by JDP
Pot, meet kettle.
What? Because of my sig? Perhaps you've heard of something called a joke? Some people's children I swear...
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Old 10-24-02, 01:06 PM
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So you can tell a joke but I can't? Or were you joking again? Jokes are supposed to be funny, you know.
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Old 10-24-02, 06:42 PM
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Originally posted by Bumbaclat
Freedom, studies, co-efficients of friction, BULLEXCREMENT!!!!

Wear your helmet you stupid people who find your mothers attractive and thusly want to procreate with her!!!!
Cut it. It ain't funny.
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Old 10-24-02, 07:02 PM
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Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
I've never maintained that helmets were the only safety measure to use. But they are a very important one.

Concerning me not using any of the accident theories in my comments, that's because this is about helmets, not accident prevention. Helmets are personal protection, like other pieces of equipment. 'Sorry if you couldn't follow the analogies from other situations, but I was not the first to bring up other situations (walking, being in a shower, etc.).

To those who say that bicycling is not dangerous, and helmets therefore are not necessary, I would say the following. The bulk of the information, and my own personal experience confirms, that bicycling is one of the more hazardous activities you can you can participate in.

John
John, there's no question about the complexity of the forest fire and poison dust analogies. They're perfectly understandable. They're not obviously apt, however.

Let's stipulate that helmets will help prevent head injury in a collision with the head. Let's also stipulate that cycling can lead to collisions with the head. Does it follow that it's "important" to wear a helmet while cycling?

Not that I can see. We might notice that walking near traffic might lead to collisions with the head, too. Is it important to wear a helmet when walking on the sidewalk? Riding in the back seat of a car might lead to collisions with the head, too. Is it important to wear a helmet when riding in a car?

The importance of wearing a helmet is not determined by the possibility of imagining some possible circumstance in which a helmet would be useful. It's determined by the likelihood of their being useful. And again-- yet again-- there's no reason to think that cycling leads to collisions with the head any more than does walking or riding in cars, activities people think it perfectly reasonable to undertake without helmets. Check for yourself. The statistics simply do not bear out any special hazard in road cycling. According to the NTSB, the number of cyclists killed per year on public roads is lower than the number of pedestrians, and (obviously) lower than the number of automobile passengers. Check Ken Kifer's page for the risk per hour of cycling. According to some company called Risk Management, the chances of being killed per hour while cycling on public roads is half that of being killed in a car.

According to the National Safety Council, in fact, about twice as many people drown as die in cycling accidents. So, is it "important" to wear a life vest every time you swim? Are high schools negligent in sponsoring swim teams without requiring that all swimmers wear swim vests?

I'll bet your answer is "no". And if your answer isn't "no", the answer of all the other helmet zealots here will be "no". But if it's reasonable to swim without a life vest, why is it necessary to cycle with a helmet?

On to the subject of "experience". You say that in your experience cycling is dangerous. Well, if we're going to compare experiences, mine is that cycling isn't especially dangerous. Yes, it requires skills to do reasonably safely. But I have replaced a car with a bike for about a decade now. I've commuted in some of the busiest traffic in the country. I've ridden in snow, rain, darkness, and fog. I have never, ever hit my head while riding. I've fallen a few times, but I've skinned my arms or my legs. My experience is that a helmet isn't necessary for road riding.

Some safety equipment, in my experience, is necessary. I would think it unreasonable to ride at night without lights and reflectors, for example. But I haven't seen anything to convince me that helmets are necessary for road cycling.

But I'm not relying on my experience alone, or on stories from one in five people on this board that a helmet "saved a life". I'm just looking at the objective data, and in the U.S. road cycling isn't especially dangerous.

It certainly isn't dangerous enough to make it unreasonable to ride without a helmet. Again, it's no more necessary to cycle with a helmet than it is to ride in a car with a helmet, to walk with a helmet, or to swim with a life vest.

Helmets are fine, and yes, they'll provide an additional measure of safety if you're in a wreck. If you want to wear one, that's fine with me. Good on you, in fact, you're taking special measures and ensuring even greater safety for yourself. As I said, sometimes I wear a helmet too. I also put on a life vest sometimes. But sometimes I swim without a life vest, and sometimes I ride a bike without a helmet.

Either way, it just isn't that big of a deal. It's not especially "important". The interesting question to me is why so many cyclists are emotionally invested in thinking it is.

Cheers.

Last edited by Merriwether; 10-24-02 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 10-24-02, 07:08 PM
  #100  
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yadayadayadayada, enough already
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